SCARP is interested in attracting students to its PhD program who are interested in topics broadly related to the transition to sustainability through the democratization of planning approaches. Under this broad umbrella, our faculty have diverse interests, ranging from sustainable transportation studies to disaster preparedness, community development and social planning, poverty alleviation at home and abroad, negotiation and mediation of land and resource conflicts, the ecological footprint, risk analysis, managing multicultural cities and regions, cross-cultural and indigenous planning, community based urban design, urbanization and its challenges in East and Southeast Asia… to name just a few of our faculty's research interests. (For more information on individual faculty research interests, please see our website). Our research approach is inherently interdisciplinary and spans qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Each year we seek to admit between four and six students, with up to 20 students in residence each year. We have developed a lively PhD culture in the School, focused around brown bag lunch discussions, lecture series organized by students, and the Biennial Planning PhD Jamboree, a week-long set of lectures, workshops and informal discussions that brings PhD students from many countries together with leading scholars, for great conversations about research, teaching and practice.

The SCARP PhD is primarily a research degree, with a flexible component of course work (view specific Residency Requirements and Required Courses).


Applicants to our PhD Program must hold a Master's Degree (or its equivalent) from a recognized graduate program in planning or a closely related field, and should preferably have work experience. The School emphasizes the importance of language skills. This reflects Canada's official bilingual status, and recognizes that as planning issues become increasingly global, it is critical for planners to command more than one language. Accordingly, students with skills in languages other than English will receive special consideration, though language competence beyond English is not a formal prerequisite. If a student's research will involve communication in other language(s), we will require evidence of appropriate skills.

While graduates of SCARP can apply without prejudice to the PhD program, experience suggests that it is preferable for such students to broaden their academic experience and intellectual horizons by seeking admission to a suitable program elsewhere.